Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Cherries and gout

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For once, I want to share the results of a study that actually appear to be promising! Sorry if I just blew your mind. I figured I’d just keep you on your toes by not being completely negative all of the time.

Recent news coverage has reported that cherry consumption may reduce the risk of gout attacks. Wondering what gout is? It’s a form of arthritis that’s caused by uric acid building up in the blood. It generally occurs in one joint (usually the knee, ankle, or big toe) and, from what I hear, is pretty painful. Diet plays an important role in reducing gout attacks and sufferers are advised to avoid purine-rich foods. I took a look at the actual study and it looks pretty good. They did use a food recall diary but it was only for two days so it’s not as likely to be inaccurate as many of the year-long studies. Also, the one important thing that people had to remember was how many cherries (or how much cherry extract) they had consumed over the previous two days. The results showed that up to three servings of cherries (a serving was 1/2 cup) over the previous two days reduced the risk of gout attack by 35%. When combined with use of allopurinol (the most common gout medication) the risk of gout attack was reduced by 75%.

Of course, this study didn’t look at the long-term benefits of cherry consumption. Also, it was observational, which means that there is a possibility that there was another factor contributing to the reduction in gout attacks. Despite these issues, cherries are delicious and nutritious and if they may also reduce gout attacks in sufferers then I think that’s a great development.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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